Monday, November 11, 2019

There's No Such Thing As Weak Leadership

Have you ever heard the comment..."oh, he's a weak leader." Maybe you've said it yourself. Candidly, I have too. Ouch.

Expectations
We all talk about...or should talk about...setting proper expectations with our leadership teams. 

What should they focus on? 
Where should they put their development time? 
How will their success be measured? 
What can they expect from us as their senior leaders?

Friends, I've heard these questions asked for years, literally. Yet somehow they keep coming up again and again. How is that possible? In some instances I've been exposed to sophisticated onboarding and leader pathway processes. In others, I hear the tired excuses of leaders who want to do well, but just don't know how to be effective. 

Accountability
I'm convinced the secret to weeding out the failing leaders is simply to hold them accountable. Be firm and fair. But, they must be held accountable. 

Here's the tricky part...most of these leaders believe they are doing a good job. They have convinced themselves they are above the fray and untouchable. Imagine their shock when they are provided coaching that does not continue to inflate their already overinflated egos?

Look out!

How About You
What is to be done when a leader is struggling? Do we...coach them....have an off-the-record pep talk with them...fire them...hmmm?

How about we step up and handle it directly? It's harder this way, but you can do it. Oh, and it's also the "leader" part of leadership.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Remote Leader Life

There is a lot of content out there about remote worker life. Lots of questions too...

...how do you stay connected to your employees?
...how do you ensure productivity remains high?
...how do you extend your on-site corporate culture to your distributed team?

The list could go on and on, right? 

Wait, What?
One of the groups that I rarely see mentioned, and to which I belong, is remote leadership. 

For more than twenty years I drove to a specific location for my "work." It was familiar, routine, comfortable, and was what I thought "work" was supposed to look like.

Until it didn't look that way any longer.

Suddenly I didn't have a place to go to; but instead, was 100% virtual. Whoa. What just happened here? 

Where are all of the conference rooms? 
Where are all of the wasted moments spent walking between meetings?
Where are all of the people interrupting me?

Hidden Opportunities
Staying connected to colleagues, team members, and clients is a real challenge. Keeping an open mind relative to video technology, for me, has been crucial. Seeing people...not just hearing them on a conference call...is so powerful. Get over your hang-ups and embrace it.

Consider the dramatic drop in interruptions as a gift to you from your coworkers. Take full advantage of the time you have and go for it. Attack your to do list, and feel how satisfying it can be when you own your day vs. your day owning you.

Lastly, use the flexibility you have in your schedule to stay connected to humanity. 

When I know I have a few hours where I won't need to be on the phone, I head for a local coffee shop. I'm still head down with my work, but I'm around other humans. That energizes me and helps me feel much less isolated.



How About You
Perhaps the lesson in all of this if finding the proper balance. Remote life isn't for everyone; nor should everyone be stuck commuting to and from an office that does not support a healthy work environment.

I feel incredibly blessed to have successfully made the transition from office only...to a healthy mix of virtual, corporate office, and the great big off-site world. Is remote work part of your world?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Everything You Can Imagine

What is it about how we see the world? Some see the negatives, live in fear, and move so cautiously they miss any realistic chance of making a difference.

Others move so rapidly that they don't pause for even a moment to consider the impact of their reckless decision-making style.

Still others are so full of confidence that they are sure their approach is the right one. Until it's not.

Finding Balance
As someone who has a...shall we say, healthy ego...finding the sweet spot between confidence and arrogance can be challenging at times. 

Maybe you struggle with that too. Since I've been around the block more times than I care to count, that elusive thing known as experience has suddenly become an ally. 

It guides me...protects me...and spurs me on when I see opportunities that others don't see.

Blind Spots
But where is that balance? How do we find it when we know, whether we would like to admit it or not, that we have blind spots...even with all of our 'experience?'

Having a team that you trust around you makes a big difference. When you trust your team, ideas can be shared, different perspectives can be examined, and the best plan can be executed.

In the absence of that culture, you are destined to fall prey to those blind spots. Right?

How About You
Lead the way and build the culture in your organization that allows for growth, camaraderie and trust. Just imagine what could be possible!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Bail and Pray

Sometimes work feels like...well...a lot. Not always bad of course, at times it's full of new projects, challenges, experiences and opportunities. These are exciting moments. Other times can feel like we are a ship that is taking on water and there aren't enough hands to do the bailing.

Stop for a Second
When the pressure is on do you sulk, throw up your arms or feel sorry for yourself? Maybe you feel like throwing in the towel altogether. Those are normal feelings. 

We want to do good work. 
We want to make a difference for our organizations.
We want to feel like we add value.

Don't let go of those feelings. They are the thread that keeps you connected to the real you, regardless of what is happening in your world.

Now, Go
Perhaps you decide to own the day the best way you can...it won't be perfect, but you can modify your expectations with a long-term view.Yeah, that's it. Think beyond these moments. Think farther ahead.

Having to bail and pray for a period of time is not a bad thing. In fact, it demonstrates patience, and an awareness of bigger pieces that are being pulled together but aren't in place quite yet. 


It shows restraint, and professionalism...it shows leadership. Your leadership.

That seems to be a much talked about but rarely seen thing in the world of work.

And then...suddenly the pieces come together. The team is in place. The plan comes together. The momentum picks up.


How About You
Time moves so quickly...why wallow in self-pity, when you can bail out the water and pray today...knowing that tomorrow is going to be fantastic? This is not failure...this is not managing...this is leading when it is needed most.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Where Did the Courage Go?

Leadership, teamwork, risk, collaboration, trust...and courage...important words that dramatically impact the life of an organization. Not only are they important at the team member level, they are essential at the senior levels of any organization if it is to thrive.

Easy to Say
Sure, the quick out here is that "leadership-speak" is simple and straightforward to say, but a very different thing to practice in real life.

I disagree.

It seems to me, after several decades in the leadership business, that the absence of courage is the key trait that derails leaders and their effectiveness.

Think about the members of your team:
- Who runs toward a problem, not away from it?

- Who is upfront and honest about what is happening vs. spinning things toward a self-interest point of view?

- Who is willing to hold others accountable vs. blindly following along?

Easy to Do
No, not easy to do. But, when your values are in proper alignment, it no longer becomes an issue of easy or hard. Instead, it is simply about having the courage to do the right thing.

So, how does it happen? What is the secret to trying to do the right thing each time? And how do you avoid falling into a political mess? Good questions, with only one answer...

Do the right thing regardless.

How About You
When was the last time you tapped into your reserve of courage? It's there...waiting for you to access it. I say, go for it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

There's Only Picture...the Big One

Here are some quick thoughts on the incredibly important, yet often completely missed, big picture.

1. Do not confuse busy and getting lots of things done with seeing the big picture. 

All too often tactical items become the work, when in fact, savvy leaders are not bothered with noise; and instead "see" what is happening on a much broader scale.

2. Remove self-interest as your primary focus.

Sure, we all want to win...but it is painfully clear to our business partners when we are playing the "it's all about me" card. Not only is it ineffective, it destroys your credibility.

3. Remain professional.

Sounds easy, but in big moments we have all seen leaders decompensate into an emotional train wreck. Professionalism always carries the day. Always.


How About You
What are the key areas you focus on when the heat is turned up and you need to get significant things done?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Finding A Way

All things considered, life is pretty easy, don't you think?

Of course it isn't. Sometimes it's hard as hell.

Pressure
I don't know about you, but I feel a tremendous amount of pressure in my life. Some is self-inflicted, some is based on the nature of the work I do, and some is just unnecessary. 

But it's there. Every day.

Am I doing a good enough job at my firm? Am I maintaining important clients? Am I bringing in enough new ones to take care of our team and hire new employees as we grow? Have I addressed every single issue that has been thrown my way?

Sometimes it feels like a bit too much. Often times it feels like...well...a bit too much.


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Pain
Then there's that other emotion...the one that surpasses pressure, whether it's in our professional lives or our personal ones. You know this one too...it's the disappointment when we stumble. It's the hurt when we make a mistake that is often huge in our minds, but isn't quite that big in reality. It's letting someone down when we really never intended to do so.

Resilience
Amongst all of these swirling feelings, we find something. It's hard to describe and nearly impossible to quantify. Yet, it's there. We can feel this one too. It's our ability to pull from somewhere deep inside and marshal onward. Often times with unexpected confidence.

Where did that come from? Why didn't it make an appearance at the beginning of this journey instead of at the perceived low point?

How About You
How do you 'handle' it all? Is it easy; or, do you find yourself in a dark place that does not have a clear path out.

Until it does.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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